From Your Interim Minister: Another Teach-In? Are You Kidding Me?

From Your Interim Minister: Another Teach-In? Are You Kidding Me?

I am providing space in the preaching schedule for another Teach-In, and I am participating in at least the planning of all of them.  This is because I believe there is little we can do that is more important for the health of our country, our community, and our church, than making an honest effort to listen deeply to people of color (POC) about what it’s like to be them in this western world of white power, white leadership, white privilege, and white norms.

There are similar dominations in the West in the form of male supremacy, straight supremacy (heterosexuality), national supremacy, and wealth supremacy.  Happily, male supremacy is showing some cracks, and straight supremacy is weakening too, but national supremacy is enjoying a revival (“Make America Great Again,” and “Make Russia Great Again.”  Wealth supremacy (plutocracy) threatens democracy.  President Trump represents all five of those supremacies.

Still, it’s my belief that the most important supremacy is race supremacy, and I have taken advantage of the rise of Black Lives Matter and the idea of White Supremacy to address one of America’s two ‘original sins.’  (The other being the near-extermination of the native peoples of North America, and Hawaii.)

We Teach-In people have been trying to make a distinction between White Supremacy as cultural and institutional, including state of mind and subtle behaviors, as opposed to white supremacists as overt and violent racists.  During the recent Charlottesville horror show the media referred to the white supremacists/fascists/Neo-Nazis/Confederacy/KKK/white nationalist groups as ‘white supremacy.’  We wish to maintain the distinction because the  ‘academic’ definition will better help us to move forward in disrupting the influence of white supremacy in the daily lives of POCs, which is common, as opposed to encounters with white supremacists, which are rare.

Another reason I feel that we will do well to keep our focus on race, is that the other anti-supremacies have more allies.  All men have mothers and many or most have wives and daughters;  almost everyone knows and feels affection for someone who is AABGGILQQ and/or T;  the entire world opposes hegemony by any superpower, be it the USA, Russia, China, or (coming fast) India;  the entire world opposes rule by the members of that international, interlocking class of the super-wealthy.  POCs don’t have those kinds of allies in the West, although our world has twice as many non-Caucasoids as whites.  And here in the USA our biggest and most obdurate problem is racism.  As I wrote once before, I feel that my consciousness is rising as a result of this work, and I feel a new affection for everyone, and that sure feels good, like ‘balm of Gilead,’ the cure Dr. King spoke of, a cure I want to keep taking.  I hope you will take another spoonful with me on Sept 17th.

— Rev. Leland

Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church